We are working our way, slowly and painfully, through a crime novel in Irish class. I am driving the teacher crazy because I keep commenting on the guy’s poor writing style (can’t help critiquing it, as a writer myself), and she keeps reminding me, “What we care about is the language, not the style.” For example, this guy throws in completely unnecessary details and then suddenly changes topics so you have no idea which character is being referred to. All of us were a bit thrown for a loop by one of his jumps. On the plus side, I am finding it is gradually getting easier to translate this piece of questionable literary merit. Last night after class I came home and told Travalon that I am really starting to learn this language. It is kind of amazing to think that, at my age, I can still learn a whole new language that has so little to do with any I’ve studied before. Even my Irish CDs are seeming less mysterious, and I can make out whole sentences in the conversations they are having. If I am ever lucky enough to get back to Ireland and find myself in an area where they speak the language, maybe I can even try conversing with the natives!
The teacher did tell us a funny story: her sister was traveling in Ireland recently, and when she got back, she commented on how large the town of Amach must be, because she kept seeing signs for it. Of course, “amach” just means “exit,” and I said I had heard a similar story from a guy who visited Germany and wondered why all the exits led to a town called “Ausfart.” I wonder if non-English speakers think we have an extraordinarily large city in this country called “Exit”?